WASHINGTON — While there is so much focus on the booster shots for COVID-19, we are already approaching flu season.
Experts have explained we have to get a new flu shot because the influenza virus mutates much more quickly than the virus that causes COVID-19.
However, last year flu levels dropped to an all-time low across the country. In light of this, it prompted a viewer to ask if this year’s flu vaccine is the same as last year’s shot.
Was this year’s flu shot batch updated?
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- The World Health Organization (WHO)
- Dr. Andrea Berry, a pediatric infectious diseases expert from the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Yes, this year’s flu shot vaccinates against a new strain of influenza.
WHAT WE FOUND:
When we spoke to Dr. Berry, she explained how experts determine what strain the flu shot will cover.
“In February, the WHO committee meets to figure out what was circulating actually in the southern hemisphere the previous year in order to determine what to put in the flu vaccine,” she said.
According to Dr. Berry and the CDC, the WHO found a new influenza strain circulating in the southern hemisphere. This means this year’s flu vaccine will be different from last year.
As flu season ramps up and talk of COVID-19 boosters continues, we wanted to find out if future flu vaccines could combine influenza and COVID-19 resistance?
According to Dr. Berry, it’s certainly a possibility because the current flu vaccine does cover other viruses.
“Ever since 2009 and the H1N1 pandemic, we've had a flu strain and a strain of influenza in the vaccine that is similar to that H1N1 pandemic strain,” she said.
Dr. Berry went on to explain, scientists are researching to see if this can also be done with SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
However, a viable combination vaccination is still a long time off from approval.
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